There are many destinations which attract tourists the world over every summer but none more so than the Algarve, Portugal. The Algarve is one of Portugal and Europe’s most popular tourist destinations and for good reason, with with the great weather, beautiful beaches, rich culture and history.
Most visitors reach the Algarve through the region’s only international airport, Faro Airport. Companies offering car hire at Faro Airport such as Avis offer a variety of Faro car hire options suitable for any number of people and occasion. Travelling by car makes it a lot easier to travel between the various towns to experience and enjoy the best the Algarve has to offer.
There are many places of interest which tourists to this region must visit to really appreciate the best it has to offer. Here are a few of the places you should consider visiting should you find yourself in one of Europe’s top summer holiday destinations.
Situated a few kilometres from Cape St. Vincent, Sagres is known for its great beaches and coastline, which attract sunbathers and water-sport enthusiasts. How many towns in the world give you a choice of four different beaches? Choose from Praia de Mareta (the town’s main beach), Praia da Baleeira, Praira do Tonel or Praia do Martinhal.
Monichique is a town which does not feature highly in most travel brochures. However this quaint town steeped in Roman history offers more than walking trails which offer a panoramic view of the Algarve. It is home to Barbelote Waterfall which is the largest waterfall in Portugal and a breath-taking sight to behold. It is advisable to take a guide or a map as it not easy to find which is why it remains relatively less publicised and explored. Plus, there is an also less famous “ghost town” in the area to make getting lost a more interesting affair.
Pego do Inferno (Hell’s Pond)
Do not be turned off by the name. Located in Tavira, Pego do Inferno is a beautiful waterfall shaded by trees and with a nice pebble surrounding where visitors can relax, picnic or just enjoy the therapeutic view of the waterfall cascading into an emerald green lagoon. There are often a few more adventurous visitors making a splash into the lake below but it is a great relaxation point for locals and tourists alike.
When travelling The Algarve, you are never far away from a beach. Fuzeta has two beaches, the first a small beach located in the town. It is ideal for families as it is wave free and quite safe. The second which is often referred to as the “real” Fuzeta Beach is the ocean side which attracts a lot of visitors in the peak of summer. The beach extends for miles so there is room for you to have a bit of privacy if you prefer.
Pera – International Sand Sculpture Festival (FIESA)
Portugal is home to the largest sand sculpture festival in the world. This is an annual mega exhibition of sand sculptures held in Pera, Algarve. This is better experienced that described. The sculptures are not the kind you are used to. These are not bucket and shovel sand works by little kids but the work of very talented artist who come from the world over to take part in this great event. The sheer size of some of them will leave you bewildered. Each year is dedicated to a different theme. It is open to the public every day from April to October and is a favourite with families.
Loulé – Carnival in Loulé
One of the famous events across the Algarve is the Loulé Carnival which is held in Loulé. Its takes place annually in February and lasts for 3 days. It is similar to Brazilian carnivals in its style –a colourful event with music, dancing, partying, with flamboyant processions. The centre of Loulé is cordoned off for this event and it you have to pay to gain access to the frenzied atmosphere on offer. In Portugal, it is customary for people to throw “water bombs” so dress prepared in case you become a target or get hit by a stray.
The Fortress of Sagres & Henry the Navigator
Located south-west of Sagres, is one of the most important places in the Algarve and Portugal. It holds monuments of national importance. From the pebble circle which was detected in 1921 and dates back to the time of Henry the Navigator to Henry the Navigator’s fortress which was built in the 15th century. There is an also a breath-taking view from a lovely lighthouse (Europe’s second most powerful lighthouses). Sagres is an area that would be of interest to visitors who like a mixture of history and archaeology with their sea-side relaxation.
Praia da Marinha
Portugal is famous for its beaches so it is only right to end this with one. Located between Armação de Pêra and Carvoeiro, Praia da Marinha. It is a small cove beach. Put simply, it is a place that is to be seen and not written about.
Don’t miss our ‘Great Drives’ blog post with a recommended road trip around Porto.